Early deaths from air pollution a threat to East Dunbartonshire

A Parliamentary Committee this week reported that air pollution is contributing to thousands of death every year in the UK.

The Environmental Audit Committee, of which Jo is a member, released a report warning of rising threats from air pollution and condemned the Government for not doing enough to tackle the problem.

Evidence shows that air pollution makes asthma worse and exacerbates heart disease and respiratory illness. According to the report, air pollution could be contributing to as many as 50,000 deaths per year in the UK. On average across the whole UK population it is estimated that poor air quality is shortening lives by 7-8 months.

In pollution hotspots it could be cutting the most vulnerable people’s lives short by as much as 9 years. Kirkintilloch Road in Bishopbriggs was recently named as one of Scotland’s 21 “air pollution hotspots” by Audit Scotland. The Lower Kilmardinny development is likely to increase air pollution in Milngavie and Bearsden, with the 550 new households adding to traffic congestion.

Commenting, Jo said:

“Our report has shown that air pollution causes at least as many deaths as passive smoking or obesity, however the Government is not putting nearly enough effort into tackling the problem. Reducing the amount of traffic on our roads would not only increase life expectancy, but reduce the level of CO2 emissions, thus helping to tackle climate change.

“The Council’s decision to cut free school bus services will only make air pollution worse by putting more cars on the road. The plan to build a new supermarket in Bishopbriggs and the proposed Lower Killmardinny development can only add to this problem. The Council must stand up for the community’s right to clean air.”

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